Industry Siemens PLM Software Analyst meeting 2011 Notes

Acting more like the tortoise than the hare in the fable; Siemens PLM Software (SPLMS) has plodded and plotted its way to the leadership position in the PLM software industry. Sticking with its “never let a customer fail” strategy as well as other newly elucidated goals has enabled the company to maintain a steady pace in gaining customers and revenue over the years.

At the Industry SPLMS Analyst meeting held on the 7th and 8th of September in Boston, Tony Affuso, CEO and Chairman, revealed substantial growth for the company. SPLMS experienced strong double-digit license revenue growth, following five previous quarters of steady growth and exceeded profitability and cash flow targets. SPLMS does not reveal its precise numerical performance. Acknowledging that most of the growth was organic (not from acquisitions) and since their growth considerably exceeded that of the market, the difference had to come from gaining market share growing their business within existing customers, from new markets, and by winning business from their competitors. Affuso discussed recent competitive wins against Dassault Systemes (DS) and PTC. His conclusion and that of the speakers that followed credited their strategies of openness and never outmoding customer data, quite different than PTC and DS. DS, in particular forced customers to endure substantial conversions in going from V4 to V5 and now to V6. At PTC, Creo appears to require a massive data migration as well. Instead, SPLMS has deployed SOA and XML to maintain a pipeline between new and existing applications. Using such “data pipelines” allows connections between disparate applications, the drawback being a modest degradation in performance for the additional work required by each application. This has been made relatively unimportant by the tremendous growth in hardware that has continued unabated all these years.

In speaking with one SPLMS executive, being a part of Siemens has allowed a stability and financial base that allows continued heavy investment in R&D, even in difficult economic times. Both Affuso and President Chuck Grindstaff cited Siemens devotion to innovation and not retreating on R&D expenditures during difficult times.

Announced last year, HD PLM seems to be making real headway. Designed as a graphic way to present Teamcenter data visually, we may at last be beginning to see the demise of the numbingly tedious display of tables of data – instead to be replaced with graphic views of the product. For instance, why look at a table of components that are over cost targets? Instead show the out-of-whack components using a color scheme on the assembly view of the product. Grindstaff described this as a way of showing the “semantics” of the product data, or relating data relationships. While I am sworn to secrecy, I can tell you that Siemens is exploring methods for the average user to generate his own views of data he might be interested in. More on this later this year.

More to come in Part 2.